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From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2006 18:33:57 -0400
Begin forwarded message:
From: Esther Dyson <edyson () edventure com>
Date: April 15, 2006 4:32:03 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Fwd: Propwash
Dave, for IP.
Please consider this a promotion for <http://www.aero-news.net>
rather than a breach of copyright. I doubt many of your readers are
Big Brother Is Watching WHO??
TSA "Terrorist" Turns Out To Be A Homeward-Bound Marine
by ANN Senior Correspondent Kevin R.C. "Hognose" O'Brien
The Transportation Security Administration bagged a terrorist in
Los Angeles International Airport Tuesday, or so they thought.
Daniel Brown's name came up on their no-fly watchlist, so they
dragged him into interrogation and grilled him, despite the
protestations of Brown and his fellow travelers, who swore they
could vouch for him.
The others in Brown's party went on their Northwest Airlines flight
to Minneapolis-St. Paul, where they waited on a bus at the airport.
You see, the detained man was Staff Sergeant Daniel Brown, USMC
Reserve, and he was traveling with the other members of his Marine
Reserve Military Police unit, which was heading home to Minnesota
from eight months of combat in Iraq. The Marines were in full
uniform and all, including Brown, had travel orders and military
After attempts to stonewall under claims of "security," TSA
spokesmen finally admitted that Staff Sergeant Daniel Brown was
placed on the no-fly list, and ultimately detained, because they
had detected gunpowder on his footgear -- not on this flight, but
on a prior flight, which earned Brown a permanent place on the
TSA's mysterious terrorist lists.
The footgear that had been exposed to gunpowder? Brown's combat
boots, and the occasion of that flight was after his return from
his first combat tour in Iraq. Gee... a combat Marine in Al-Anbar
Province being exposed to gunpowder.
Exposure to gunpowder isn't something the TSA knows a lot about.
Hey, who are you gonna believe, this here watchlist or your lyin'
Ultimately, the TSA screeners figured out that Brown really was a
Marine, and no threat to his fellow passengers, and let him board a
later flight. When he deplaned at MSP, his unit's bus was waiting
-- his fellow Marines in it.
Marine 1st Sgt. Drew Benson explained why. "We don't leave anybody
behind. We start together, and we finish together." All 26 Marines
waited for Brown -- even though their families were waiting for
them at a scheduled welcome-home bash at Fort Snelling.
Brown's mother Terry was glad they did. "They all come back
together... no matter what it takes and I think that's very
important," she told WCCO-TV.
Frequent TSA critic Richard A. Altomare, Founder and Chairman of
the Coalition for Luggage Security -- and a former marine -- said,
"I'm proud that Sergeant Dan Brown's Marine unit refused to report
to their post until the 'man left behind' was permitted to get on a
passenger plane. This TSA's bloated bureaucracy with documented
insensitive treatment of countless Americans really rings home a
need to dismantle their growing airport agency before all American
freedoms are lost -- since now even the United States Marines can't
The TSA watch lists are shrouded in such secrecy that it's
impossible to tell if they have done any good. The TSA refuses to
say how people get on the list or even how many are on. On the
other hand, the absurdities of the list have been well publicized.
Senator Ted Kennedy, former child actor David Nelson, and other
celebrities have turned up on the list. (TSA explained to Sen.
Kennedy that there was a terrorist who once used "T. Kennedy" as an
alias. "T" is not one of the Senator's initials; his full name is
Edward Moore Kennedy).
Some of our own writers were placed on the list after we ran
several Aero-Views critical of TSA management.
In the last few weeks, a DHS official originally recruited by TSA
was in the news after being caught in a child sex sting; <http://
Aero-News reported, before joining TSA he took early retirement
from Time magazine after a porn scandal there.
Last month, a classified Government Accountability Office report
leaked to NBC News reportedly revealed that security testers were
able to bring bomb-making materials through TSA security at 21 of
21 airports tested.
But the TSA will not strike its colors; it has not yet begun to
fight. Boston TSA head George Naccara told CSO Online, a magazine
for security executives, last month that the TSA needed to extend
its unique approach to security to other modes of transport:
"subway stations, rail terminals, cruise ship and ferry docks, even
special events like conventions."
"TSA was never clearly given a mandate to focus only on aviation,"
Naccara said. "I want to bring a sense of urgency to other modes
and explain to them what we do and how it can be adapted to work in
Meanwhile, does the Marine of the hour have any words? Turns out he
does. "As somebody who has served 16 months over in Iraq for the
U.S. Marine Corps and come home and get hassled by TSA, it's kind
of a major disappointment," Daniel Brown told TV station WCCO.
"I've been fighting terrorism for the last 16 months in Iraq. I
don't think I should have to come home and deal with this."
Brown's father Carey echoed his son's sentiments. "For an
individual who spent two tours over in Iraq fighting for his
country, I think it's one of the biggest bogus things they could
ever come up with."
WIth luck, no one at TSA will take that as a challenge.
Esther Dyson Always make new mistakes!
Editor, Release 1.0
20th floor - last elevator
104 Fifth Avenue (at 16th Street)
New York, NY 10011 USA
+1 (212) 924-8800
models for e-mail debate, April 20, at http://www.eff.org/bayff
Flight School: Air, June 15-16, at http://www.release1-0.com/events
current status (with pictures!) at http://www.flickr.com/photos/edyson/
book: Release 2.0 (Broadway Books)
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- Propwash David Farber (Apr 15)